18-year-old Dylan Brown has been in the headlines for all the right reasons this pre season, winning a head-to-head battle with Jaeman Salmon - who turned out to be unavailable for Round 1 anyway - to partner Mitch Moses in the halves at Parramatta.
He's played a majority of 2019 in the Jersey Flegg Cup, only turning out for the Wentworthville Magpies five times. His time in senior footy is limited, but Brad Arthur is willing to take a punt on the up-and-comer given how much he impressed in the lower grades and pre season fixtures.
Blayke Brailey has recovered from what was reported as a thumb injury to earn a bench spot for the Cronulla Sharks. The reigning NSW Residents hooker was sublime for the Newtown Jets last year, and will join his brother in first grade in a wonderful family affair.
Rising stars Kyle Flanagan and Bronson Xerri haven't been included to start in Round 1, but they are certainly knocking on the door given they are a part of the 21 man squad.
The omission of Zac Lomax in the St George Illawarra Dragons NRL team is incredibly surprising, but it has opened the door for Mikaele Ravalawa to debut on the wing. Ravalawa played for Mounties last year, picking up 11 tries in 13 games.
On the theme of Fiji, a genuine product of the NSWRL Pathway will make his debut for Parramatta. Maika Sivo has played Sydney Shield, Ron Massey Cup and the Canterbury Cup where he simply could not stop scoring tries.
He topped the try-scorers’ list in Group 9 for Gundagai, he topped the try-scorers’ list in the Sydney Shield and in 2017, then topped the try-scorers’ list in the Ron Massey Cup before being promoted to the Canterbury Cup.
Sivo signed with Parramatta from Penrith last year, and Brad Arthur had obviously been impressed by the try-scoring machine over the pre season.
Another winger set to make his NRL debut on the weekend is NSW Pathways prodigy Reuben Garrick.
Garrick played in the NSW Under-20s Origin team two years in a row while he was at the Dragons and made the move to Manly. Des Hasler has now given the young, skilful winger his first chance in the big time against the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.
Adam Keighran was a part Canterbury Cup NSW team of the year last year when he played for Penrith and now a move across the ditch has earned him an NRL debut. He will take the halfback spot previously owned by Shaun Johnson in their opening match against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Thomas Mikaele will make his debut for the Wests Tigers after playing a starring role in their Jersey Flegg team for the past two years, while Raiders up-and-comer Bailey Simonsson has been named on the wing by Ricky Stuart.
- Blayke Brailey - Cronulla Sharks (Round 1 v Newcastle Knights)
- Briton Nikora - Cronulla Sharks (Round 1 v Newcastle Knights)
- Adam Keighran - New Zealand Warriors (Round 1 v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
- Thomas Mikaele - Wests Tigers (Round 1 v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
- Reuben Garrick - Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (Round 1 v Wests Tigers)
- Mikaele Ravalawa - St George Illawarra Dragons (Round 1 v North Queensland Cowboys)
- Maika Sivo - Parramatta Eels (Round 1 v Penrith Panthers)
- Dylan Brown - Parramatta Eels (Round 1 v Penrith Panthers)
- Marata Niukore - Parramatta Eels (Round 1 v Penrith Panthers)
- Bailey Simonsson - Canberra Raiders (Round 1 v Gold Coast Titans)
- Corey Horsburgh - Canberra Raiders (Round 1 v Gold Coast Titans)